The Wise Man And The Tiny House

There’s an old song comparing the wise man and the foolish man.  It might just be talking about a tiny house foundation!  Goes something like this: ‘the Foolish man built his house upon the sand … and the house came tumbling down. … The Wise man built his house upon a rock … and the house on the rock stood still.‘  –  Or something like that.  (If you know the words and the tune, ya gotta sing it!)

20ft Tiny House TrailerIt’s an interesting metaphor that takes on a slightly different meaning when thinking about the foundation (trailer) for a Tiny House.

Yet, that’s what it is.  You build a house on a foundation — and Tiny Houses are no different.  The tiny house foundation IS the trailer, so it’s got to stand up to the environment — which includes rolling down the highway (over potholes, and other road debris).

Engineering Tiny House Trailers

At Synthesis, I get calls fairly frequently from people asking about trailers for a tiny house.  The questions vary, of course, but the essence is often about “what can I get away with for a trailer?”  Not so unlike sand, an insufficient trailer will not make a solid foundation or stable platform to build your house on.  Tiny houses definitely need a Specialty Trailer.  And, we can learn a lot from the Old Time Tiny Houses with their unique mobile platform.

My Questions In Response To The Inquiries Are:  How long do you want it to last?  And,  How much trouble do you want to deal with?  The answers to these 2 questions (never asked directly) drive the design.

The Tiny House Trailer has to deal with a lot of different things that other trailers don’t, so the design must consider these conditions.  You can read about the engineering and design process specifically for these Tiny House Trailers.  That’s the way we make decisions, and how we research things before diving in.  You can read a similar discussion about the process in designing our Deck-Over style trailers.

That leaves only the matters of trailer size (to accommodate what kind of house), and what capacity (how much will the house weigh).  Weight we’ll discuss below, but size, that can be a Tiny House Quandary so we’ll leave that to you.  Here’s some additional reading on Wide foundation trailers.

Tiny House Weight / Trailer Load Capacity

This is a tough one to grapple with.  How much does a tiny house weigh?  So many variables, and so much to consider.  Does it have freshwater or black storage tanks?  How many and what size of batteries?  Appliances?

Compact is the reality and very nature of the tiny house, which means tighter and denser than a typical house.  Also, being roadworthy requires an extra level of sturdiness.  How much does that all weigh?  Truly, it varies, and every house plan I’ve seen is unique, so you’ll need to do the math.  However, from what we’ve seen, something in the neighborhood of 500# per linear foot is not out of the question.  Some are more, some less — so don’t use this number and think you’re OK.  Go back to the wise man song.  The wise man also considers just how much rock he needs for the house to stand.

Take the weight information and it will point you to the right tiny house foundation.  You’ll need one that exceeds whatever you calculate as the need.  We recommend exceeding it by quite a bit since things always change and it’s so much better to over-design a bit than to wish you had.

Side note, all the information, and the available Tiny House Trailer Plans are in Imperial dimensions.  Read more about Metric here.

The New “Rock” To Build On

So, on that note, let’s introduce the new “Rock” and it’s big brother.  Then there’s the long one with a build choice of 30′ or 32′ deck length.  Our latest DIY project is an amazing Tiny House Foundation — a trailer designed specifically for Tiny Houses.  It’s designed to be really strong, easy to build, and to last (as the song says) … the Tiny House on the rock stands still.

Tiny House w/ Floor Integrated Into The Trailer FrameThese particular trailers are 100″ width (allowing for siding overlap and still be legal).  DOT legal for anywhere at 8.5′.  And, they have 20′ or 24′ or 30′ or 32′ bed lengths.  Other features include a max capacity of 14,000 lbs tandems (up to 18,000 lbs for the triple), and low deck height with an integrated floor for even more headroom.  As I speak to Tiny House creators, deck height is usually very high on the priority list, but there are trade-off’s.  So, these new trailers not only have a low deck height, they have the house floor integrated with the frame for better support and to minimize the true floor height.

Most important to this discussion, this Tiny House trailer minimizes deflection in all conditions even with the low deck height.  See the discussion about deflection in our previous post.  These trailer frames are very strong, yet more important, they’re stiff.  So, if you build with care, it will make a very stable, very strong, Tiny House Foundation.

It’s Your Turn – The Tiny House Foundation

If the foundation is the most important thing to get “right”, one of these new “Rocks” are a great choice.  DIY plans are available for 3 versions our Tiny House Foundation (3 lengths).  Select the size you want here.  (Tiny House Foundation Trailers are down the page slightly.)  Then, right after payment confirmation, you can save the blueprints directly to your computer.  And, we take care of our customers, so let us know if you have trouble.

We invite you to have a look at the plans, then let us know what you think.

UPDATE – 2021

We now have the Wide and the Extra Wide tiny house mobile foundations for you.  The 10′ wide by 32′ length, then the really big (well, for a tiny house) the 12′ wide by 32′ length mobile foundation.  They’ll require permits on the road, but if you want a little more elbow room, have a look.

Comments

2 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View All Comments

We Found These For You . . .

Article
Example aluminum trailers
This question comes up often — because there are not many good plans for aluminum trailers out there.  We have great trailer plans, but none for aluminum.  Why?  As one of our Frequently Asked Questions, this one deserves a good…

Read The Article

Product
24' Tiny Home Trailer Plans

Build on a solid foundation starting with plans specifically designed for the unique needs of a Tiny House Trailer. Low 8.5’ x 24’ top deck. Up to 14,000 lbs total capacity. Fully Engineered.

Article
All The Steel Cut And Ready For The Trailer Build
Update on building a new design specialty utility trailer.  The trailer build is going well, and we thought you might have interest in following the progress.  Especially for some of the experimental new concept features.

Read The Article

Article
Trailer Axles with Brakes
There are laws that say when a trailer must have brakes.  In most places within the USA, when the trailer total capacity is over 3000 lbs, trailer brakes are required.  That’s all well and good, but we all know that…

Read The Article

Product
Utility 5x10 Trailer Plans - 3500 lbs

As an awesome DIY project, get these 5x10 Utility Trailer Plans that include lots of options, then build a trailer unique, and perfect for you.  It has a 3500 Lb single axle to handle the chores.

Article
A Unique Trailer Project
There is always something to learn when looking at someone’s DIY project.  This customer story about a unique trailer build is no exception.

Read The Article

Product
Water Barrel Storage Center

Store water for emergencies in a system that’s easy to use, and more important, easy to replenish the water -- so it’s always fresh when you need it.  Uses plastic 55 gallon barrels for an easy build.

Product
24 Foot Deck-Over Trailer

Complete Plans for an awesome 24 Foot, Tandem Axle, Deck-Over Trailer – 10,000 lbs Capacity!  At 8.5' wide x 24' deck length, the plans include plenty of options to build it the way you want it.

Article
Attach Safety Chain With One Bolt
What are the best ways to attach safety chains on a trailer?  That’s a simple question without a single best answer.  Don’t you hate it when the answer starts with “It depends . . . “?  Unfortunately, it does depend…

Read The Article

Article
How Much Can I Tow?
There are 3 main factors with how much you can tow.  While it all seems simple, digging in makes it a little less clear.  Yes, it’s easy to look at the simple rating numbers, 

Read The Article

Article
Custom Trailer Design
Sometimes looking for the right plans for the trailer you need is a needle in a haystack.  Every site has something, but not exact.  What’s next?  When you really need a particular trailer that others don’t offer,

Read The Article

Article
Looking At Old Time Tiny House Trailers
The Tiny House Craze is cool and feels New, but it’s actually one of those things that has come around — though with a twist.  There is a lot to learn from the past if we take a few minutes

Read The Article

Article
What Bolts for DIY?
Bolts are an amazingly simple yet complex fastening method.  They’re used everywhere so mostly we take them for granted, but why are there so many different kinds?  And what bolts should I use?

Read The Article

Article
Trailer Wiring For Breakaway Kit
What in the world is a Trailer Breakaway Kit?  If you pull a “larger-ish” trailer, you should definitely know, because it’s a legal requirement in many jurisdictions.

Read The Article

Article
Welding Pre-Stressed Steel Fabrication
The concepts of pre-stressed steel fabrication have been around for ages, but they are not often applied for simple welded structures like trailer frames or crane stands.

Read The Article

Article
Steel for the Next DIY Build
This is what the beginning of a new DIY build looks like.  Of course, there’s the planning stages, the design stages and finally the acquisition stages where all the raw materials begin to come in.  With all of that behind…

Read The Article

Article
I-Beam Clamp Introduction
Introducing a new product to the Mechanical Elements family of Do-It-Yourself Plans — the gantry crane I-Beam clamp.  A simple product we give as Free Plans in our launch celebration!  Well, is it really FREE Plans?  Yes.  Use the coupon…

Read The Article

Product
Mechanical Elements 4x8 Utility Trailer Plans

A small-ish, yet really tough little trailer.  Get these single axle 4x8 Utility Trailer Plans to get the jobs done.  With a total capacity of 3500 lbs., trailers built from these plans will work hard.

Article
Welding Trailer Spring Brackets
There is some disagreement in trailer building about how to weld-on trailer spring brackets (also known as spring hangers).   Some of you have sent questions about which techniques are best, especially

Read The Article

Product
Tilt Top Trailer Conversion

Convert our standard Utility Trailer Plans into a Tilt Top Trailer with these Conversion Plans.  It fits our smaller, 3500 lbs, utility trailers in 4' width and 5' width — for both leaf springs and torsion axles.